Why Young People Are Grouchy!


After years of research, I’ve discovered why young people are grouchy all the time.  It’s pretty simple, really.  They’re bored out of their skulls.  The problem is, despite the entire 21st century lying at their feet like a cornucopia of earthly delights, they have so many politically correct rules of engagement that they’re scared to touch it.  Let me explain.

They can’t play games or even watch them.  There is a myth that young people like board games, but I think this is just spin (“lie” is such a hard word.)  Think about it!  Games are, by definition, competition, and when you have competition you have winners and – OMG – losers.  This is the Anti-Christ of the 21st century.  If an activity isn’t win/win, it just doesn’t happen.

They can’t watch television — except The Handmaid’s Tale.  The trigger warnings in Game of Thrones alone would fill an encyclopedia (that’s Google for old people.)  Even the blandest of the bland, the antique sitcom, Friends — a program so inoffensive it can’t even be called vanilla (that suggests way too much flavour) is a minefield of politically incorrect thought.  Nope, TV is out!

They can’t go to the zoo.  Animals in captivity?  That’s just crazy talk.

They can’t go to a museum.  If the single statue of some dead guy is offensive, a whole building full of history could cause apoplectic shock.

They can’t read books published before 1980.  In a time when To Kill a Mockingbird has been censored, Huck Finn rewritten and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Screw banned, we’re not many days away from politically correct mobs ransacking libraries and burning the books in the streets.  Sad as it may seem, Fahrenheit 451 isn’t fiction anymore; it’s a training manual.  So reading is a no-no!

They can’t go to the movies.  Here is an industry that has, on several occasions, confessed that it is a whitewashing, cultural appropriating, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim monopoly, controlled by misogynistic old white men.  What’s left?  Michael Moore’s “Ain’t It Awful?” documentaries — and even the politically correct are fed up with that guy.

They can’t dine out unless the restaurant grows its own organic food in a hydroponic biosphere in the back garden.  Even quinoa and avocados, the meat and potatoes of contemporary life, are suspect.  The carbon footprint that brings ancient grains and Aztec fruit to the modern table is just too deep to be tolerated.

And, of course, the super biggie:

They can’t flirt.  Don’t even go there!

And that, boys and girls, is why young people are so 24/7 bitchy!

This Computer Generation


I have discovered the real reason that we have children and encourage our children to have children.

Last week, one of my lights went out.  A blue dot, it had glowed on a dusty, black molded plastic device on the corner of my desk.  Normally, since you can land airplanes from the various indicator lights shining around my house, I wouldn’t have cared or even noticed.  However, when this little bastard committed suicide, he took the Internet with him.

[Just so you know, I’m not a Luddite.  I love technology.  But I’m a Techno-dinosaur.  I don’t know a bit from a byte from a bot, and I don’t trust any of them because of my ignorance.  Techno-answers elude me because I don’t know the right techno-questions to ask.  In fact, I don’t even speak the language and — full disclosure — I don’t actually think in techno-terms.  Technology and I are like two pages of a closed book: we touch at every point of our existence, but we’re completely different.]

Anyway …  losing the Internet, without warning, was like suddenly being struck blind.  The panic was palpable.  I started thrashing around, waving my arms in the cyber darkness — propelling the mouse and hitting keys like a Rhesus monkey.  “Reboot!  Reboot!  They always tell you to reboot.”  I rebooted.  I swore.  I swore some more.  I started  randomly turning thing off and turning them back on again.  I unplugged.  I plugged.  I reversed cables.  I disconnected various wires and stuck them into a variety of other holes.  I realized I couldn’t remember what went where, anymore.  I unleashed a torrent of obscenities that is still hanging over the Pacific Ocean like a radioactive cloud.  I stopped.  I roared in frustration.  I wept.  I went for a walk.  I came back, sat down and looked at the dismantled mess on my desk.  This went on for three days and on the fourth day, I reached for the comfort of 2Oth century technology and telephoned my niece — my great-niece actually — on a land line.

Like Ground Control to Apollo 13, she methodically guided me through the reassembly process, calmly reconstructed the disaster, assessed the situation and isolated the problem.

“No, Uncle Bill!  The Internet doesn’t hate you; it’s your modem.”
“No, you can’t fix it.  You need to buy a new one.  Why don’t you get a good one this time?”
Then, she spoke gibberish for a minute and a half, and I dutifully wrote it all down.

The next day, I went to the retail techno-scoundrels with the note from my niece.  They pillaged my credit card and gave me a box large enough to hide their treachery.  Inside, there was a new black molded plastic device and a pamphlet of illustrated instruction.  I followed the instructions to the letter (picture?) plugged it in and — a miracle happened!  There was a little green light, shining bravely in the sun-drenched summer afternoon, and I knew I had been delivered.  I sank to my knees in praise of all that I know to be holy and thanked the Almighty that my sisters had indeed gone forth and multiplied.  Now I understand that, without a second, third and even a fourth generation to guide us through the labyrinth of technology, it would run amok.

And from there, it would only be a matter of time before we found ourselves up to our elbows in Terminators.


Complaining: A New Generation

It’s been over three months since the overprivileged young people of Vancouver staged a reenactment of Last Tantrum in Paris on the streets of my city.  Unfortunately, last June’s Stanley Cup Riot has not faded into history.  The mayor, police chief and various media outlets are keeping it alive by miraculously growing extra fingers to point in all directions.  Incredibly, there still haven’t been any criminal charges filed but most ordinary folks around here don’t want any more cheese with that whine: they’re tired of it.  Only a few of us at the time who realized this was going to be Inspector Clouseau meets the Keystone Kops.  However, it’s starting to surprise me that some people are still surprised that our oh-so- caring/sharing local government is wandering around the halls of power clueless on this one.  Frankly, it’s no secret our elected elite couldn’t pour chardonnay from a boot — with the instructions clearly printed on the heel.  But enough about that; I have different fish to fry.

Ever since our sons and daughters took it upon themselves to drag their city’s international reputation through the mud, I’ve been wondering why.  I deal with my fair share of young people (basically the under-30 crew) and aside from their unholy sense of entitlement, I’ve always thought they weren’t particularly different from any other generation.  They strike me as enthusiastic, full of energy and ideas.  They generally work hard at what they do.  For the most part, they’re polite and take their society seriously.  They have their share of doubts and make mistakes – but don’t we all?  Personally, I think they’re a little smarter than we were at that age and if not more mature, at least more realistic.  After all, we thought if we just calmly explained things to the idiots running the world, they’d shape up and fly right.  Today’s youth is under no such illusion.

However, after conscientiously listening to young people for the last three months — in an effort to understand what snapped last June — I’ve discovered a substantial difference between this generation and pretty much every other one that’s come before it.  These folks are constantly bitching.

Don’t take my word for it.  Check it out.  Grab anybody who can’t realistically remember the Berlin Wall, buy them a coffee, and I guarantee you — within 20 minutes — max — they’re going to have something nasty to say.  Actually, it’ll probably start at the counter with the quality of service, which seems to be the bane of every young person’s existence.  If you get through that, I don’t care whether the conversation is about science, art or commerce, before the Starbucks is finished, they’ll be complaining about something.  And whatever you do, don’t get tangled up in politics because Hell isn’t big enough to hold half their wrath on that subject – and that’s on both sides of the aisle.  Nor does the discussion have to be about matters of great import.  If you want to get a real earful, try talking about television, or gardening or the smartphone they’ve been texting with under the table.  In fact, technology is one of their major complaints.  It’s almost as if they’re having a Sicilian blood feud with digital innovation.  I have yet to find anybody young enough to actually work a smartphone, who isn’t already mad at it.

Young people seem to see every social encounter as an opportunity to complain.  They spend most of their waking hours dissatisfied, and this isn’t just disaffected youth; these people are serious about it.  At a time in life when everything should be bright and beautiful, this generation is in a perpetual state of pissed off.  It’s as if they believe the bumps and grinds of everyday living were put on this earth to vex them.  Everything from the economic downturn in Europe to the old lady who won’t pick up after her dog is a personal affront.   Mick Jagger got more satisfaction, for God’s sake!

I don’t have any idea where this comes from or why it’s particular to today’s youth, but it strikes me as completely contrary to Mother Nature’s way of doing business.  Old people are supposed to grump around, grousing about everything that crosses their path.  Young people are supposed to be flexible and shrug everything off — because they’re too busy dancing and singing and ringing in the new.  This generation seems to be so high strung (and for no apparent reason) dogs whine when they whistle.  I’ll tell you one thing, though: somebody better give these people a tickle pretty soon, or by the time they get to be my age, there’s going to be no living with them.